February 28, 2011

Luxury at Le Scandinave

A couple of week's ago, we decided to take an extra long weekend and pamper ourselves (See New Year's Resolutions entry) with a day at Le Scandinave in Blue Mountain. I have been eager to try this spa for years; it's an outdoor Nordic experience, combining hot baths with cold plunges and relaxation solariums to rest and renew. It's an age old tradition that uses a concept called "hydrotherapy" to detoxify and cleanse your mind and body.

The outdoor thermal pools and Nordic baths. Courtesy of Le Scandinave.

We started the day bright and early and arrived at Blue Mountain by 9:00 a.m. for our 9:15 a.m. couples' massage. I have had many massages, and this one was by far, one of the best. It was the perfect start to the day and sufficiently helped to reduce the stress build up in my shoulders and lower back. Thank you, Rafael.

After the massage, it was time to venture out into the baths. Luckily, it happened to be a warm February day (8 degrees), so walking around in a bathing suit didn't seem too shocking. Following the steps is necessary to fully absorb the benefits of Le Scandinave, and the spa suggests repeating the steps a few times. The steps are simple: hot, cold, relax, repeat. First: you start with 15 minutes of heat: in an outdoor hot tub, a traditional Finnish sauna, or - my favourite - the eucalyptus steam room. The eucalyptus steam penetrates your skin and fills your body with freshness. I know this sounds like a Vicks commercial, but it's true. What's better: the steam is so thick, you can hardly see when you enter the room. Within minutes you're sweating and you can literally feel the toxins coming out of you. The Finnish Sauna, with a whopping temperature of 89 degrees Celsius provides dry heat that melts your body. And the hot tub, well, it's a hot tub, but it's so cool to be immersed in hot water with steam lifting all around you. After about 10-15 minutes of heat, it's time to quickly plunge in the Nordic bath. The spa suggests anywhere from 2 seconds, to 2 minutes. My first experience was shocking and short-lived - I barely lasted the 2 seconds. But by the second round, I was swimming around in the 13 degree pool for about 1-2 minutes and loving it. It was cold, yes, but the best part was coming out of the water. Believe it or not, you could actually feel your blood circulating. Step 2 of the Detox complete. The last step was easy: grab a magazine or a book, find a Muskoka chair and relax in the heated solariums or by the outdoor fires in silence.

A couple (not me and Donny) in the thermal pool. Courtesy of Le Scandinave.

What's most amazing about Le Scandinave is the feeling that you've travelled to a luxurious spa in the Alps, when in fact, you're at the base of Blue. When outdoors in the pools, you're surrounded by a natural forest and snow covered mountains; it's hard to believe you're just over an hour outside the city bustle.

I highly recommend Le Scandinave for a couple who wants a different approach to a "day at the spa", or to a group of ladies who want to relax in a natural surrounding and re-energize with water therapy. I can't wait 'til our next visit.

J

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